The metal bones are up, now for everything else.
Local residents, and anyone driving by on the QEII Hwy, have seen the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre rise from the ground at Red Deer College, with the steel “skeleton” structural work now complete and the enclosure of the building underway.
The building was intentionally positioned on the west side of the RDC campus because it has good access to Red Deer and the rest of the Central Alberta community off the QEII Hwy, and good access off 32nd Street and College Circle, said Doug Sharp, RDC’s Director of Capital Projects.
The building is to be fully ready and occupied in September 2018, six months before it becomes an integral part of the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, from Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019. Substantial completion of the building is slated for May 2018 to allow moving in to start, Sharp said.
The $88-million, 200,000 sq.ft., building will add 20 per cent more space to RDC’s existing one million-square footage, he said.
Work on the red brick building is on schedule and on budget. Funding, which is ongoing, is coming from donations, partnerships and government.
“It’s really exciting. … This building isn’t just about athletics or sports. It’s about education and an integral program that will encompass other areas,” Sharp said.
The centre is organized around the Great Hall, a gathering area for people to meet and socialize, and which divides the building into two sections.
On the east side, the main floor will include the arena, shipping receiving, ice plant, mechanical rooms, six dressing rooms, Hockey Alberta provincial offices, and a food service where people will be able to get healthy food.
On the second floor is a concession, and from this level, spectators will walk into the arena or gymnasium seating. The arena will have 1,100 seats and the ice surface will be 27 m wide x 60 m long (90 ft x 200 ft). The ice can also become Olympic size, because the boards can be adjusted, Sharp said.
On the west side of the Great Hall will be a gymnasium that seats 1,200 people. It can be used as one gym with seating on all four sides, or two gyms with a curtain in the middle.
Also there will be team rooms, public change rooms for the fitness centre and two flex change rooms for people who might have mobility problems and need assistance. The Donald Health and Wellness Centre, an education zone with classrooms, a sports performance lab, anatomy lab and physical movement studio, and an athletic therapy area and five offices for faculty, will also be on this side. On the second floor there will be a fitness centre, a large workout area, a 200-metre running track, a 100-metre sprint track, and four squash courts.
Red Deer College student residences will be used as the Athletes Village during the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Planning is underway for an expansion of the residences and more information on this project is expected in the spring.